Ich bin ein Berliner.’

My thought was to avoid politics today but something happened on the way to the forum, as it were …  Celebrity Race Across the World, to be precise.  Television (terrestrial) is, in the main, dire as everyone knows and, thus, it was without great expectation that I decided to watch the first part of this four-part series on BBC One in which four pairs of celebrities (define?) endeavour to ‘race’ across various countries – given four different checkpoints along the way – to the final destination.  There is a budget and it is up to each team how they spend that sum.  No flights allowed and no phones (God forbid!), armed only with a map, they must decide what route and which mode of transport to take across land.  Turns out it is addictive watching, not only to see the countries included in the travels, but as a character study.  For, it is a family affair and three of the ‘celebrities’ are accompanied by a parent, while the fourth are siblings.  Meet Harry Judd and his mother, Emma.

Harry Judd, the drummer with McFly is a nice guy; a little too intense – and competitive – but a nice guy.  His mother, too, is lovely, wanting nothing more than to spend time with the son who up and left home, aged just seventeen, to join a band, leaving her feeling bereft.  He does look after her but, as I said, think intense.  They can, both, be found engrossed in their tapestries – yes, Harry, tapestry – as they while away the many long train journeys involved.  Told you, it is first and foremost a character study as one is party to not only the family dynamics but the changing moods when faced with exhaustion, basic comforts and – for some – the pressure to win.  Anyway, the race commenced in Marrakech and finishes, next week, in Tromsø, Norway, north of the Arctic Circle.  So far, the checkpoints have been Pinhao, Portugal, Bonifacio in Corsica, Zermatt, Switzerland, Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzogovina and Berlin!  A positive travelogue and, actually, worth noting the checkpoint hotels for future reference.  That in Berlin looks amazing, a spit from the Brandenburg Gate.  Talking of which …

‘Ich bin ein Berliner.’

My point?  The above is such a famous statement, taken from former (sadly, necessary considering some of the ‘geniuses’ of today – although, why would they be reading this?) US President John F. Kennedy’s now legendary anti-communist speech delivered on 23rd June, 1963 in West Berlin.  One of the best-known speeches of the Cold War, I reminded myself of it yesterday, watching the footage on YouTube.  Not a fan of JFK, certainly as a person, that speech was magnificent!  From the heart, he had no need to read the words for, unusually, he had written it himself.  One of the most inspiring orations of his presidency, he was defiant in his defence of democracy; of self-government and, above all, freedom.  In the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate – a towering symbol of communism – he called on the Roman Empire to rally the crowd, citing ‘Civis Romanus sum’ (‘I am a Roman citizen’) as the proudest boast of two thousand years ago.  Now – or in June, 1963 – that same statement translated into German:

‘Ich bin ein Berliner.’

Everyone should be familiar with the words of JFK that day, sixty years ago.  Its pertinence remains.  Must never be forgotten.  Google it.  It is positively uplifting and a few minutes well-spent – as opposed to so much in this vacuous world.  I have a shelf full of reference books – who’d have thought? – one amongst them being Chambers Book of Speeches.  Positively bulging with historic orations, it is nothing short of humbling.  Note to self: open more often!

‘Ich bin ein Berliner.’

Who knew that statement would all but encapsulate my musings of the week – and why?  Finally, the point …  Back to Harry Judd and his mother, Emma (a former nurse) and, remember, I did say I liked them!  Well, as they were endeavouring to reach the latest checkpoint in Berlin, Emma happened to say, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’, to which Harry laughed, asking ‘What does that mean?’.  Of course, I thought he was joking.  Even being unaware of the historical context, the translation is self-explanatory, surely?  Apparently not, for his mother, too, laughed and replied, ‘I don’t know.’ Sorry?  Did I hear that correctly?  Neither of them knew the meaning of such kindergarten German, let alone the context?  I grabbed my pen and paper in disbelief …  Four words and a question mark: visitor to this planet?  Followed by ‘Help!’.

Glad I got that off my chest.  Now, to refer to my burgeoning notes …  Back to the US and the torture of – and, that is Joe Biden.   Instagram is full of him and his bumbling and stumbling.  They even let him loose on Israel this week!  Now, I really don’t like the guy, always sensing a coldness – even something sinister about him – but he has become an object of ridicule with people delighting in his frailty.  Humanity at its best, once more.  Enough!  I cannot comprehend pleasure gleaned in cruelty.  Says so much more about the proponent.  What of his wife?!  His Office, his aides?  Barack Obama and his fellow democrats who are pulling the strings?  Biden is a sick old man who is being manipulated and humiliated.  That, in itself, is a crime against humanity.

Talking of those in office (should that be a capital?) who are mere puppets being worked from behind … Humza Yousaf.  I cannot bear to watch him.  Racist in the extreme, who can forget his rant about white people in posts of power (in Scotland!) when first ‘elected’?  Too ignorant to grasp his own goal, he has always been nothing more than the voice of Nicola Sturgeon; her puppet.  His election to First Minister, questionable in view of both his record and popularity, only this week – at the SNP Conference – he spouted the same old, same old.  Who, in this political climate – and with a party still, supposedly, under investigation – would be stupid enough to hammer on about Scottish independence?  Joe Biden is not the only object of public ridicule …  Where is Sturgeon, by the way?  Where are the millions, more to the point?  What has happened to the ‘coveted’ camper van and the ongoing police investigation?  All those questions.  Corruption?  Who would suggest such a thing?!  Meanwhile, do not be fooled by the White Stiletto’s silence.  As she sits quietly on the back benches of Tarzan’s lair, make no mistake, ‘Useless’ is reading from her script!

We are all born ignorant but one must work hard to remain stupid.’

Benjamin Franklin

This is Trish, signing off.